The Vaddukoddai resolution of May 14th 1976 is a turning point for the history of the Eelam Tamils’ struggle. Dr A.J. Wilson, the late lamented head of the political science department, Brunswick University speaks in the following words about the turning point in the Eelam Tamils’ struggle. “In the years after the onset of the UF government’s policies underlining Sinhala majoritiarianism, the Tamil people turned their minds towards liberation and self-determination. Tamil youth understood such concepts as a meaningful step towards freedom and independence, for them it was the only way in which their life chances could be improved, and they will no longer be at the mercy of the Sinhala political class.” (Page 128, S.J.V Chelvanayakam and the Crisis of Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism, 1947 – 1977).
Dr A.J. Wilson in his careful and analytical study said further, “the goals were ratified in the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 14th May 1976 at the first national convention of the TULF under Chelvanayakam’s chairmanship. This historic pronouncement accused the Prime Minister Mrs. Bandaranaike of having ‘callously ignored’ the TULF’s last attempt…to win constitutional recognition of the Tamil nation without jeopardizing the unity of the country. The convention called on “Tamil nation in general and the Tamil youth in particular to come forward to throw themselves fully in the sacred fight for freedom and to flinch not till the goal of a sovereign socialist state of Tamil Eelam is reached.””
Dr A.J. Wilson was always careful of the choice of words. This is how he described the collective “decision of the main Ceylon Tamil components of the TULF, that is FP and ACTC, Chelvanayagam approved the choice of words. He was a conviction politician who never minced his words, and he was certainly also pragmatic in that he would not refuse bread if cake was not on offer. As a lawyer and a politician he knew that goals could not be attained in a single leap; he believed in the policy of ‘a little now and more later’. The little now could not therefore become an end in itself, although many of the comfortable Tamil bourgeoisie interpreted the little now aspect of Chelva’s policy – best characterized by the ‘interim adjustments’ he arrived at with the prime ministers, SWRD Bandaranaike in 1957 and Dudley Senanayake in 1965 – as final destinations. This was far from his own interpretation of Sinhala majoritarianism. He had come to the conclusion as early as 1958 that the Sinhala leaders were “not big enough to rule the Tamils”.
Dr A.J. Wilson who understood his father-in-law Chelva’s mindset, in his lucid manner he said what Chelvanayagam stood for.
To quote Dr A.J.Wilson again, “Chelva’s stand unflinchingly for a separate Tamils state was clearly enunciated in the last important statement he made in the national state assembly, a few months before his death. Speaking on Nov 1976 at the second reading debate of the annual appropriate bill for 1977, he acknowledged to his listeners how his federal movement has failed to achieve the objective of obtaining the “lost rights on the Tamil – Speaking people”.
Our ancient people were wise, he said, and he seemed to fault himself by stressing that they “had their own Kingdom”, as if to say that is the own FP should at the very start have confronted the proposition of a separate state. He reminded his audience of parliamentarians that the Irish had won their freedom … but after centuries of struggle “against the British”. (He had also often told the Tamil public how a divided Poland had become unified on two different occasions). There was a finality and finiteness in his conclusion.
We have abandoned the demand for a federal Constitution. Our movement will be all non-violent… we know the Sinhalese people will one day grant our demand and that we will be able to establish a state separate from the rest of the island.
Whatever the comfortable the Tamil middle classes residing in Colombo said, Chelva’s last testament was that only a Tamil state could protect the Tamil people from repression by the Sinhala state apparatus. When asked by a journalist how the TULF would achieve its goals? , Mr.Chelvanayagam replied prophetically… “We would make such a nuisance of ourselves that they (the Sinhalese) would throw us out”.
In this context it should be said to the credit of Chelvanayagam that he admitted in his interview to the BBC correspondence that “we had failed to produce a Tamil Jinnah at the time”.
To give weightage to the writer’s argument of the Vaddukkodai’s Resolution the writer has quoted at length the academician’s statement.
In the writers opinion the vaddukkoddai Resolution is a turning point in the history of Eelam Tamils struggle for freedom and an eye opener to the Tamils abroad.
Following the vaddukkoddai Convention the Govt. challenged the resolution and charge the TULF for treason. The trial -at -bar consisted of five eminent judges and 65 Tamil legal luminaries. Mr. Murugesu Thiruchelvam a constitutional authority presented his case in this beautiful manner.
He said, “Sinhalese never conquered us nor did we give our consent”.
In a very convincing manner he said, what the Tamils are asking is what we had & what we lost, we want to regain and reassert ourselves. It comes within the category of restoration or reconstitution. He emphasized that the word separation is a misnomer.
In a very interesting manner, he drew parallel to the Tamils of Tamilnadu & Tamils of Eelam. Tamilnadhu is approx. 55,000 Sq. Miles and the population is roughly 80 millions. The size of eelam is very smaller than Tamilnadu. And the population is also comparable small. But the Tamils of Tamilnadu ceased to rule themselves by the end of 1337- the beginning of the 14th century. With the conquest by the Muslims & the Andras. Where as the Eelam Tamils are concerned King Sankili lost his rule in 1619 to the Portuguese. But Pandaravanniyan – the Vanni King ruled till 1803, in other words till the beginning of the 19th century. Tamils of Tamileelam maintained their independence till the beginning of the 19th century. We are not here to deny or belittle the people of Tamilnadu. What is being emphasized here is that the Tamils of Tamileelam have maintained their contiguity till 1803 and therefore we demand that we have the legal right to rule ourselves.
The question may be posed by doubting Thomase’s that the present area of the Tamils is in a weakened position but we would like to quote Muhammad Ali Jinnah the father of Pakistan. When he was asked the question whether he is going to have whole of Pakistan as envisaged by him. Typically of an able articulate civil lawyer Jinnah said, “let us have a truncated Pakistan or a moth eaten Pakistan than no Pakistan”. Eelam Tamils are quite conscious of our weakened position. But our agitation for an independent state of Tamileelam will be a reality even if we do not have the entire area for us. There are nations in the UN, which are even smaller than Tamileelam – the traditional homeland of the Tamils. Israel is a barren area and the seawater converted into a drinking water and vegetables are grown in polythene bags. The number of Jews in Israel are lesser than the Jews in America. But Israel being an Independent state the Jews in America is in a position to dictate terms to America in its foreign policy, finance and the media. In other words it’s not the size of the country or the strength of the population that counts in freedom struggle. It is the will & determination of the people that counts in a freedom struggle. Let us not forget Singapore, which is smaller than Jaffna Peninsula. Whether we like it or not the name of Singapore is often mentioned by everybody and it is a power to be reckoned with. Recently Mr. Urudrakumaran Prime minister of the TGTE when addressing his members said, “that even if Mithri is going to be mother Teresa, is he going to live forever to entrust our future to him?”. The writer was in the audience and endorsed what Mr. Urudrakumaran said by quoting what Jinnah said when a reporter asked him that “The Gandhi & Nehru are great men and they think of India as a whole and their above narrow parochialism, if that is so why do you harp on Pakistan?”
Mr. Jinnah with his unforgettable smile uttered “that he readily agree that Gandhi & Nehru are great men. They think of India as a whole & they’re above narrow parochialism. But I’m asking this question is they immortal beings for us to entrust the future of our nation to these mortal beings. That is why I say, that the permanent political safe guard for the Muslims is the creation of Pakistan”. It is in this context TGTE, PM’s statement is considered a prophetic utterance. TGTE is a transparent political body and believes in the democratic procedure to win over world opinion. It believes in convincing and converting the global opinion. But if its fails, we are determined to neutralize world opinion so that they don’t work against us.
Dr A.J. Wilson in his book The breakup of Srilanka – Sinhala Tamil conflict says in a very prophetic manner “what the Sinhalese leaders must do. To any Sinhalese political leader it should be clear the neighbour Tamilnadhu with 52 million Tamil inhabitants, is an important factor in the Indian democratic system. Thus any attempt by the Sinhalese majority in Ceylon to organized a pogrom against the Tamils would present a problem to the govt. of India. Yet for all that , President Jayewardene & Minister Gamini Disanayakke made public statement threatening the very existence of the Ceylon Tamils if India were to invade. An invasion was not to even contemplate at the time. The dire consequences that President Jayewardene & his Minister indicated were empty threats. Romesh Bandhari , who at one stage was in charge of Ceylonese affair in New Delhi, once told Lalith Authlathmuthali when they happened to meet in Oman that if the Ceylon govt. was looking for a military solution, that could not happen; the inference was that India would not allow it. None the less after the calamity of July 1983, Mrs. Gandhi offered her good offices to help resolve the imbroglio. With the govt. of India in the picture, it was obvious that my role as an intermediary was at an end”.
In conclusion, the writer wishes to quote what the Washington Post, August 4, 1983 said about the situation in Sri Lanka “ If living together is so hard, what about a separate state in the north for the Tamils?. They have as good a claim to a nation of their own as most members of the United Nations. But as always it is a question of power, and in Srilanka the Sinhalese have the power. Do they also have the wisdom to see that the Tamil minority is treated in a way that justifies its retention within a unitary state?”.
(quoting from the book The Pen & The gun by S.Sivanayagam- page 75)
When Tamileelam was justified in 1983, is there any reason to deny in 2009 after the worst massacres amounting to genocide were carried out after 1983.
Let us unite under the TGTE banner to fulfill the Vaddukkoddai Resolution as the panacea for all the political ills facing the Eelam Tamils.
Former Member of Parliament – Sri Lanka
Member of Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam representing Canada
St Georges Manor,
809-17 Brimley Road,